The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying Fly fishing book reviews 

The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying
by Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer
Hardbound : 189 pp.
Amato Books Publications    $45.00
ISBN   1-57188-369-X
The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying by Leeson and Schollmeyer

When this book arrived, my first thought was that the binder broke the book. The split page design with alternate numbering schemes was puzzling at first--until I understood the book's design. Thousands of fly patterns share many of the same tying procedures. If the tying procedures that are duplicated across patterns are removed, there is more space to devote to flies. The result is a very interesting and efficient use of page space.

More than efficient, the book design encourages the aspiring fly tyer to be creative by isolating the various parts of a fly in order to find new combinations. Even the more advanced craftsman might find himself looking for an alternative to an aged fly design that needs to be kicked up a bit with modern materials and methods. I found myself using CDC in a way I hadn't tried before in a Caddis pattern. If the tying techniques weren't separated out from the patterns, I would have a harder time searching for alternative combinations of body, tail and wings. You might even find the discovery of new patterns and untried old patterns a playful event as you freely flip through the top series of pages and align them with the bottom pages to find interesting, even bizarre, combinations that, who knows, might set the world afire with the newest wonder fly.

There are other nice touches in this book. Hundreds of crisp photographs are expertly presented for educational value. The choice of patterns are well chosen to represent a broad spectrum of modern and traditional patterns and tying techniques, and not just a collection of patterns that the authors appear to favor.

This level of professional treatment shouldn't be surprising given the long line of exceptional books from this fly tying duo of Leeson and Schollmeyer. The detailed tying instructions are economical in their clarity and precision without delving into tiring fish stories. Even the table of contents with its thumbnail pictures of the patterns built in show an exceptional degree of planning and foresight.

This book will grow on you. You'll find new patterns in old designs, and old patterns tied in ways you hadn't considered. Maybe the next CDC and Antron miracle ant is right around the corner for you do discover and validate in the mouth of a fine fish.

--Toney J. Sisk


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